How Orion utilizes Lean thinking to offer more value for contract manufacturing clients

With a company-wide culture of innovation and continuous improvement, Orion seeks to provide a competitive advantage to its clients.

In any pharma contracting project, success or failure comes with the competence and commitment of the staff involved. That is why fostering a company-wide culture of continuous improvement – known also as Lean thinking – has been one of Orion’s main focus areas in the past few years. 

“Our commitment to Lean means ensuring we have highly-skilled staff involved in each project, competent in developing the processes through continuous improvement,” says Juhani Kankaanpää, Director of Supply Chain Development.

For contracting clients this means that with Orion as their CMO, they also reap the benefits of Lean culture:

“Having a dedicated team constantly rooting out problems in the clients’ processes and looking to offer the most efficient and robust solutions from the get-go is definitely a benefit for our clients.”



Orion started its cultural change toward a Lean organization in 2014 , and was awarded for its work with the Lean Prize 2016 by the Lean Association of Finland.

The award committee praised Orion especially for its comprehensive approach.

Though there have been great results in cutting down lead times in production and Quality Control, Lean doesn’t only mean fine-tuning production processes, but adopting a company-wide culture of innovation.

“Beyond operational excellence, it’s about empowering our staff to innovate, embrace progress, break down silos and learn from each other,” says Mervi Vasänge, who currently heads Orion’s cross-organizational Lean Network.

“Lean is also very useful for R&D: it brings new, more systematic tools to foster innovation and encourage everyone to share their improvement ideas.”

First and foremost, Lean always aims at creating more customer-value.

“With a dedication to continuous improvement we can combine high quality with a great service level and provide a competitive advantage to our contracting partners,” Kankaanpää says.


Read more about Orion Contract Manufacturing.